Isn’t advertising actually the oldest profession?

It’s challenging to see the subtle transformation in publishing brought about by the migration of advertising to the web. Advertisers, instead of figuratively owning a publication because their ad money paid a supposedly editorially independent newspaper’s or magazine’s bills, now can and do own and produce the publication. The advertiser is the parent corporation.

The bigger the corporation, the more likely it is to own a magazine—or online channel. The publication doesn’t need to take the form of a magazine, and eventually we’ll use another word for it. Smaller companies can enlist the services of an innovative advertising firm that owns/publishes a magazine, but the effect is the same.

We were better at noticing advertisers’ influence in print and even broadcast media. Certain magazines, we could tell, were nothing more than junk mail posing as news or entertainment. Now that we can separate the components of an online magazine and share them individually, it’s not as easy to see the whole picture.

I’m not opposed to this trend. It’s an inevitable efficiency. I simply want to be aware of who’s doing the talking.

Two things.

One: Dark Rye, which is where I found this video, is a slick example of an online magazine that originates as advertising for a corporation (Whole Foods Market). A Spoken Dish is another.

Two: McClure’s makes the world’s absolute best Bloody Mary mixer. No kidding. And I wasn’t paid to say it.

One Reply to “Isn’t advertising actually the oldest profession?”

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